The library staff is expanding its services to students both on and off campus, said Amanda Lemon, electronic services librarian. Videos-on-demand, Internet chats and a document scanner are just a few of the expanded offerings students can use.
One new addition to the library’s website is access to films on demand. Lemon describes it as an “academic-minded Netflix.”
There are videos on topics ranging from humanities to business, science and health. The films can be accessed under the “features” menu on the page, Lemon said.
A slightly older service that could bolster the success of students is the Ask a Librarian section at www.occc.edu/library. It allows a student to email, chat with, text or send an instant message to a librarian for answers to questions during regular business hours. Answers generally come within five minutes, Lemon said, though it can take a bit longer if the librarian is away from the desk.
“In chat, the students are anonymous,” Lemon said. “When I worked at the University of Central Oklahoma, some students were too intimidated to come talk to us, but would use the ‘ask’ features.” She hopes more students will take advantage of the “ask” features.
Already chat is the second most popular way for students to ask questions, right behind visiting the front desk in person.
“That’s a really cool feature,” said student Rachel Morrow, who just learned about the service. “It would be really useful for people like me who get lost online easily.”
The site also offers library tutorial videos to assist students in finding their own answers during the times the library is closed. They are on the library’s YouTube channel, www.YouTube.com/occclibrary .
The same videos are on the library’s home page, but can only be viewed in Windows Media Player. All videos are under five minutes long, Lemon said.
Other colleges as far away as Arizona and Colorado have called to ask for advice on building similar websites or to ask permission to use parts of OCCC’s library tutorial videos, Lemon said.
There is a link to the library’s blog on the main page to keep students up to date about events and new resources available in the library. These updates can also be found on the library’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/occclibrary.
All these features and more, such as online access to EBSCO Host, archives for The Daily Oklahoman, and other research-related databases, can be accessed off-campus just as easily as on-campus, Lemon said.
All a student needs is his or her OCCC e-mail and password (the same as MineOnline) to log in. Business major Joshua Walker said he recently used these databases to complete a report for one of his classes.
“I am an online learning student,” he said. “This was great because I was able to access more research from home and even get the call numbers for books I wanted to use. It made my trip to campus shorter since I already knew where to find what I needed.”
A survey gauging student and faculty interest in e-books recently closed, Lemon said. Results are still being evaluated, and new e-book providers are being considered. Two students won gift cards to Carson’s Deli for their participation in the survey.
The OCCC library does have some academic e-books available that are about 10 years old, said Dana Tuley-Williams, systems librarian. They can only be accessed online.
Tuley-Williams said she is excited about the services the library is able to offer.
“It’s really nice having a librarian dedicated to online services like Amanda is.” Another helpful tool is a scanner for students to use to copy documents or reference articles to save them without spending money on photocopies.
“The library recently acquired a new scanner so students can e-mail or save to a flash drive scans of documents they’d like to take home. The new scanner has a touch screen and is really easy to use.”
Tuley-Williams said the scanner can reduce paper used for photocopies as well as save students some money.
“We’re still tinkering with it a little bit, but thus far, it seems to work fabulous,” she said. “It has been in the library since Nov. 8.
“We were looking at ‘how can we be more green in the library?’ and that’s where this started.” Other changes also may be in store, Lemon said,
“We’re just excited for the future. We want to be relevant. We want to make it as easy as possible for students to access.”
Library hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. These hours apply for the spring and fall semesters.